Types of Human Worms: What Types of Worms Are There?

Any person, regardless of age, gender and condition, can become the host and habitat of parasitic microorganisms. Although the word "host" is a strong word, because worms are the ones that live in the human body, absorb its nutrients and energy, poison the body and damage the body, causing many negative symptoms.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, the vast majority of people live with at least one type of parasite. In general, there are more than 70 species that can choose the human body as their home.

Some people think that parasites live exclusively in the intestines, while everyone remembers balls - small and white worms. But in reality, worms are able to penetrate any internal organ or system, as a result of which they disrupt their functioning, which is dangerous not only for human health, but also for life.

It should be considered what types of helminths there are and which are the most common? At the same time, you will find out what symptoms indicate their presence, and what treatment will help you cope with the disease with the least damage to health?

Types of helminths, their classification

types of worms

There are more than 300 species of parasites in the world, which belong to different classes and groups of microorganisms. There are only 70 species in our country, from this data we can highlight 10, which are found in the vast majority of cases.

Parasitic worms, depending on the characteristics of parasitism, can be divided into two groups - intestinal and tissue.

The first group chooses the human intestines as their home, which can include roundworms, roundworms, lamblia, hookworms, whipworms, cattle tapeworms, pig tapeworms and broad tapeworms.

The tissue group includes trematodes, trichinella, liver flukes, echinococcus and alveococcus. They can settle in any human internal organ and live there for years.

Depending on the life cycle of parasites (as well as the source of infection), they can be divided into the following types:

  • Biohelminths - the eggs and larvae of this group of parasites mature in animal organisms (cows, dogs, cats) or insects (mosquitoes, flies). That is, human infection occurs directly from them. And transmission from one person to another is not possible.
  • Geohelminths - the eggs and larvae of this group of parasites mature exclusively in the soil, that is, outside the human body.
  • Contact parasites - the infection spreads directly from a sick person to a healthy person (by shaking hands, household items, bedding, etc. ).

Depending on the class, the types of worms are divided into the following types:

  1. Round parasites (nematodes) vary in size and appearance and are always of different sexes. These include scoops and wheelworms (as pictured).
  2. Cestodes or flat (tape) helminths are long worms that feed through their own skin. These include cattle and pig tapeworms (found quite often) and echinococcus (as in the picture).
  3. Trematodes or flukes - opisthorchiasis, schistosomiasis and some other types of parasitic microorganisms.

Tapeworms and roundworms are always parasites, but the group of roundworms includes more than 10, 000 species, only a few of which can live in the human body.

Brief characteristics of common parasites

pinworms in the human body

Pinworms that enter the human body cause a disease called enterobiasis. They look like small and round worms, white or yellowish in color and up to one centimeter in size.

Penetrating the human body, they settle in the intestines. Helminths are contact-type parasites, meaning they can spread from a sick person to a healthy person. At night, the female crawls out of the intestine and lays eggs. As a result, the main symptom of this disease is unbearable itching in the anal area.

The life cycle of pinworms varies between 4 and 6 months. You can only get rid of them when the last larva dies. Parasitic eggs have amazing vitality and are able to adapt to any adverse conditions.

The most common parasites in the human body are the following types:

  1. Roundworms (ascariasis disease).
  2. Toxocara (toxocariasis disease).
  3. Whipworm (trichocephalosis disease).
  4. Trichinella (trichinella disease).
  5. Tapeworm or cattle tapeworm (for taeniarin).
  6. Pig tapeworm (diseases - taeniasis, cysticercosis).

Medical statistics say that the broad tapeworm is quite common, which causes diseases such as diphyllobothriasis, as well as echinococcus (echinococcosis), cat flu (opisthorchiasis) and lamblia - giardiasis.

All parasites have a negative effect on the human body during their life activity, and the symptoms of each disease differ significantly.

It is worth noting that the treatment depends on the type of parasitic microorganism, the intensity of the helminthic infection and the number of worms that have invaded the human body.

Ascaris, Toxocara

The human roundworm is a large, round worm with a curved end (like a hook). Sizes range from 50 cm to one meter and are about 6 centimeters in diameter.

Males are always much smaller in length than females. As a general rule, the size of the male parasite does not exceed 25 centimeters. Ascaris larvae are relatively small in size. With the intensity of the helminthic infection, the roundworms are able to multiply as quickly as possible, as a result of which parasite balls are formed in the intestines.

Ascaris (as in the picture) belongs to the geohelminths. The eggs can get from the ground to the small intestine, where they eventually turn into larvae, which in a favorable environment are able to penetrate the circulatory system and from there through the blood reach all the internal organs - the lungs, heart, kidneys, cerebral hemispheres, skin, eyes.

If the larvae settle in the lungs, they destroy the alveoli and enter the bronchi, then together with the bronchial secretions into the oral cavity and end up in the intestines again. Thus, a secondary infection occurs. Adults can lay several thousand eggs per day and live in the human body for several years. Symptoms of ascariasis:

  • General malaise, weakness.
  • Increased nervousness.
  • An increase in body temperature.
  • Shortness of breath, non-productive cough.
  • Pain in the sternum.

Treatment of ascariasis includes preliminary cleansing of the body, the doctor recommends taking laxatives and sorbents that help remove waste products from parasites. Then anthelmintic drugs are prescribed, taking into account the patient's age and weight, as well as the intensity of the helminthic infection.

It is advisable to treat roundworms with drugs aimed at their destruction.

Toxocara is a round parasite (as pictured), yellow in color and up to 10 centimeters long. Infection occurs in the vast majority of cases through contact with animals, it can also be contracted from cats and dogs.

The female parasite can release up to 250, 000 eggs per day. Helminth eggs enter the human body through the oral cavity and then end up in the intestines. Their life cycle can be compared to roundworms, they can enter the circulatory system and then various internal organs.

In the human body, the helminth larva is unable to develop into an adult, its maturation takes place exclusively in the intestines of animals. In the human body, the larvae can live up to 10 years. The symptoms of toxocariasis differ significantly, it all depends on the organ in which the larva has settled. Common symptoms of the disease are:

  1. Allergic reaction in the form of rash, itching, redness.
  2. Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing.
  3. Non-productive coughing fits.
  4. Dry wheezing when breathing.

The acute form of the disease has more "traditional" symptoms, which include weakness and apathy, fever, increased body temperature, joint and muscle pain, headache and dizziness.

The treatment of toxocariasis begins with etiotropic therapy, which directly affects the causes of the disease, that is, the larvae of the parasite. Medicines are then recommended to restore the functioning of the affected organs and systems.

Whipworm, Trichinella

In appearance, the whipworm is a thin worm with an approximate length of 3-5 centimeters and a diameter similar to a human hair. It has a sharp end through which it is fixed in the intestinal mucosa.

The worm can penetrate the human body from the soil and then move to the intestines, where larvae form. Usually, this type of parasite settles in the area of the cecum and caecum. It can live in the human body for 3-4 years.

The peculiarity of infection with this parasite is that the disease can be asymptomatic. However, there are "classic" signs that are most often mistaken for respiratory diseases - cough, fever, nausea.

Whipworm reduces the body's defenses, as a result of which secondary infections can occur against the background of the infection, which significantly worsen the patient's condition. The following clinical symptoms are distinguished:

  • Pallor of the skin.
  • Weakness, nausea.
  • Disorders of the digestive system.
  • Pain syndrome in the abdominal area.
  • There is a mixture of blood in the stool.
  • Increased irritability, convulsive conditions.
  • Headache and dizziness.

As a general rule, detection of the parasite in the early stages of infection is quite rare. However, treatment must be comprehensive. This includes narrow-spectrum anthelmintic drugs that work only on whipworms, pain relievers, and anticonvulsants.

Trichinella is a small worm, up to 5 millimeters long. It refers to biohelminths circulating between predators and domestic animals. The parasite can enter the human body together with animal meat.

The female trichinella enters the human small intestine, where the reproduction process takes place and new larvae appear. These larvae enter the circulatory system and can spread throughout the human body through the bloodstream. The "favorite" area of trichinella is the skeletal muscles, where it can live for up to 5 years. The first symptoms are observed in the patient on the 8th-10th day of infection:

  1. Painful sensations in the abdominal area.
  2. Regular nausea.
  3. Vomiting, disturbance of the digestive system.
  4. Loss of appetite.

After the larvae travel throughout the body, the symptoms described above become more pronounced, with additional joint and muscle pain and an allergic reaction (hives, itching, rash). If treatment is not started in time, the disease causes complications in the cardiovascular system, central nervous system and respiratory system.

Treatment includes anthelmintic drugs, as well as symptomatic therapy against allergic manifestations. Antipyretic drugs are recommended for high temperatures. The therapy is usually carried out in a hospital setting.

Cattle and pig tapeworm

The bull tapeworm can reach a length of thirty meters, has a small head, and has thousands of segments on its body. The parasite has 6 hooks on its head. Helminth larvae develop in cattle. It can enter the human body through poorly thermally processed raw meat.

During its life cycle, it remains in the small intestine, where it forms new segments. They are then formed and eggs are obtained from them. Each segment contains a maximum of 100, 000 eggs.

The parasite feeds on the entire surface of the body and can live in the human body for up to 10 years. Common symptoms of the disease are:

  • Systematic pain in the abdomen.
  • Nausea.
  • Loss of appetite, vomiting.
  • Weight loss.
  • Increased gas formation.
  • Urgent bowel movements up to 5 times a day.

Treatment includes a health-improving diet that creates an unfavorable environment for the parasitic microorganism to live, as well as anthelmintic drugs. The tablets should be taken according to the dosage regimen recommended by the doctor. After taking the medicine, the parasite dies and is excreted naturally with the feces.

The appearance of the pig tapeworm is similar to the cattle tapeworm, but its length is different - it can be up to 5 meters. Infection can occur when eating raw meat, as well as from a sick person. The life cycle of the tapeworm is 20-30 years. The parasite can cause two diseases:

  1. Cysticercosis, when the larvae enter the body.
  2. Taeniasis - an adult "lives" in the body.

Cysticercosis occurs against the background of sharp headaches, epileptic seizures, various skin rashes and pathological changes in the eyeball. Symptoms caused by an adult parasite:

  • Allergic reactions, shortness of breath.
  • Abdominal pain, overturned stool.
  • Loss of appetite, disturbance of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Sleep disturbance, nervousness, irritability.

Treating larvae is a long process. Individual larvae are surgically removed and anthelmintic drugs are prescribed.

To remove the adult from the human body, a narrow-spectrum antiparasitic drug is prescribed, which has a harmful effect on a specific type of parasite. After the tapeworm leaves the body, it is examined to rule out the possibility of its body parts being found in the intestines.

Medical practice shows that curing parasitic diseases is much easier than diagnosing them at an early stage. In view of this circumstance, it is recommended to pay attention to even the smallest pathological changes, and to consult a doctor immediately for appropriate therapy. The video in the article tells about the types of parasites that live in humans.